Life | Personal Stories | Article

I Got Scammed: I Never Thought It Would Happen to Me

by Ooi May Sim | 27 Mar 2024 | 6 mins read

Like many of us, RC was aware of the many financial scams that have been going on lately. What she wasn’t aware of, however, was just how easy it was to fall victim to such a scam. This is her story… 

I was sleeping when my phone rang at eight in the morning. The call was from the income tax department and there was a lady on the line who told me that my IC (Identification Card) had been used to register a business in Kelantan.

As I had just woken up, I was still very blur. I can’t remember what she said exactly but she spoke in Bahasa Malaysia and told me that as this was now a police case, she would be transferring my call to the police department because they were investigating my case.

Instilling fear in their victims 

After my call was transferred, I spoke to a police officer who introduced himself and told me that they were conducting an investigation and needed some information. He explained that the business in Kelantan was operating to ‘wash’ illegal money and since my IC was used, he needed to speak to me. He also read out my case report and asked me to jot everything down.  

As I had gone to Kelantan for work before, I thought my personal details might have been stolen when I was there and used for no good.  

When I told him this, he asked me for the dates for when I was in Kelantan. He also asked me if I had ever left my wallet unattended and I recalled that there was a time when my purse was not in view, so someone might have had access to my IC. 

The police officer spoke a lot and asked me a lot of questions. He then began threatening me and scaring me by saying that I might be involved in the crime. He said that the guy who used my IC was using it for black money and if I didn’t have proof that I am not a part of it, I would be charged with the crime.  

He kept saying that this was a very serious crime and as it was an ongoing investigation, I wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone about it. He even asked me to come to Kelantan to help with investigation, but I told him I couldn’t.  


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Taking the bait 

Since I couldn’t go to Kelantan, he said that I would need to assist him with the investigation, as he needed to track everything. He sent me a link and asked me to key in my details for tracking purposes.  

I did as he said and lost RM5,000, which was all the savings I had in my bank account. However, I didn’t even know they had stolen my money because the link that they sent me was an APK file which is a malware that took over my messaging system, so I didn’t get notified through SMS when they transferred my money.  

The police officer even asked me to get my family and friends to transfer money into my account to “check if it works”. He wanted to check if my account could receive RM10,000 and told me that this was the final step where he could help me. But he reminded me not to tell my friends and family about what was going on because it was an ongoing investigation and that I could get into trouble.  

When I called my sister, she asked me why she had to transfer the money immediately and why it was so urgent. I couldn’t explain. My sister said it sounded ridiculous and reminded me of her friend who was in a similar situation that got scammed.  

It was then that I realised what was happening.  

I hung up and found that I had lost all my money in my savings account. I then made a police report and called my bank, but they were unable to retrieve the money because it had been transferred to multiple accounts and was untraceable.

There were many red flags  

When I think back about what happened, there were a lot of weird instances. However, when it was happening, he made it very complicated and kept asking me a lot of questions, so I didn’t have time to think. He sounded very credible and confident and spent a lot of time talking to me to convince me. And once you are convinced, there will be no rationale. You will believe everything they say. 

His profile was a picture of the police station, and the number he used was similar to the Kelantan police station number, with a few additional numbers at the back.  

He acted like a helpful person who was trying to help me get out of trouble. He told me that it could have been a family member who betrayed me by taking my IC, or a bank officer. He even advised me to add a watermark on my IC the next time I gave it to the bank.   

At one point, he even told me to go to the police station, but before I did that, I would need to follow his instructions first. 

Lessons I learnt 

  1. The police will never contact people using WhatsApp.
  2. Government organisations cannot transfer calls to different government bodies.
  3. Be cautious when people tell you that you are in trouble. Scammers want you to act quickly so they use fear to scare you. Don’t get sucked into it.
  4. Don’t click on any links they send you and only download apps from official stores. 


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Feeling foolish and ashamed  

After getting scammed, I felt upset and very stupid. I cried about it and asked myself why I wasn’t thinking straight. I kept blaming myself for the whole process – “It was so obvious! How could I fall for that!” 

Thankfully, my family and friends were very supportive and said it was because I am kind and thought he wanted to help me so the thought of him cheating me never crossed my mind.  

However, at night when I am about to sleep, the memories still resurface in my mind and would make me quite sad because I keep thinking that I could have stopped it.